Hendrick Motorsports cans Mears
Hendrick Motorsports' Casey Mears says it's disappointing that he will not return to Hendrick Motorsports next season, but he remains committed to completing the season with a strong run for the team. Beyond that, he says he's just starting to investigate other job opportunities in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage.
|Casey Mears looks like he aged 10 years since finding out he is out at Hendrick Motorsports after this year|
|Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Mears and Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday morning that they would not continue their relationship beyond this season.
"We've put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a news release. "It's been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We've tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven't come.
"None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he's confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too."
Mears said there are no hard feelings, and he remains close to everyone at the Hendrick organization. He also said while he had expected to remain with the team next year, he's known for a couple of weeks that this would happen.
"Rick and I sat down and had a talk," he said Friday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We didn't know exactly how things were going to play out so we haven't really jumped around at making any conclusions right away. But it's disappointing. I'd love to be there, obviously. Hendrick Motorsports is a great organization. We've definitely had a rough year, for probably several reasons, but everybody's worked hard. [Crew chief] Alan [Gustafson], Rick, myself, everybody's worked very hard to try to do what we can do to help improve the program and just haven't had the luck. [We] had some bad luck at the beginning of the year and had some bad runs to back it up. [It's] frustrating that we've had the start to the season that we had.
"Fortunately, it's kind of weird because we still have the second half of the year, everything's happened so early, but the big thing is I think obviously we've got a lot of potential still. I don't feel a whole lot differently about the team or the organization or the guys than I did [at] the beginning of the year. Obviously I feel like every week we have the opportunity to capitalize on a good finish and for some reason we've just really, really struggled. The team as a whole, then us, seemed to struggle a little bit more the first half of the season. It's unfortunate that things have kind of come out the way that they have, but, at the same time, things happen for a reason, and [I'm going to try to] just try to finish off the rest of this year as strong as we possibly can. … At this point it really doesn't do anybody any good to worry about what's going on and not focus on the remainder of the season, so we're just going to continue to work hard on that and see what happens for next season."